Spotter: A model based active geolocation service

Sándor Laki, Péter Mátray, Péter Hága, Tamás Sebok, Istvan Csabai, Gábor Vattay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

63 Citations (Scopus)


The localization of Internet hosts opens space for a wide scope of applications, from targeted, location aware content provision to localizing illegal content. In this paper we present a novel probabilistic approach, called Spotter, for estimating the geographic position of Internet devices with remarkable precision. While the existing methods use landmark specific calibration for building their internal models we show that the delay-distance data follow a generic distribution for each landmark. Hence, instead of describing the delay-distance space in a landmark specific manner our proposed method handles all the calibration points together and derives a common delay-distance model. This fundamental discovery indicates that, in contrast to prior techniques, Spotter is less prone to measurement errors and other anomalies such as indirect routing. To demonstrate the robustness and the accuracy of Spotter we test the performance on PlanetLab nodes as well as on a more realistic reference set collected by CAIDA explicitly for geolocation comparison purposes. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to use this novel ground truth containing over 23000 network routers with their geographic locations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 Proceedings IEEE INFOCOM
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2011
EventIEEE INFOCOM 2011 - Shanghai, China
Duration: Apr 10 2011Apr 15 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X




ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Laki, S., Mátray, P., Hága, P., Sebok, T., Csabai, I., & Vattay, G. (2011). Spotter: A model based active geolocation service. In 2011 Proceedings IEEE INFOCOM (pp. 3173-3181). [5935165] (Proceedings - IEEE INFOCOM).